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Spin Control

Sat., March 6, 2010, 12:06 p.m.

WA Lege Day 55: Tax debate on DoR rules

OLYMPIA--Sen. Don Benton offers an amendment that argues rules giving the Department of revenue authority to go after companies avoiding taxes are too broad.

"It gives the department the ability to go on witchhunts throughout the business community, it's another job killing tactic," Benton says.

Other Republicans argue it's like determining businesses are guilty until proven innocent, and that the department should have the authority, the Legislature should.Sen. Pam Roach called revenue agents "heat seeking missiles."

Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, says that's not it at all: "If you're for tax avoidance, maybe this is a good amendment. All we're trying to do is make sure that businesses that should be paying taxes are paying taxes."

Democrats say Republicans should stop demagoguing against state employees. Republicans object to that characterization.

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen warns both sides to cool the rhetoric.

Benton closes debate with a warning about an overwhelming tyrannical bureaucracy.

Amendment fails on a voice vote.

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